What does University of Alabama's 'party school' ranking mean?

Parents who have kids going off to the University of Alabama this fall might not be thrilled to learn that it came in second behind Syracuse University in The Princeton Review's latest list of the top 20 party schools in the country.

The annual ranking is part of their yearly publication, The Best 385 Colleges. It's based on a survey of 140,000 students at these colleges on various aspects of college life, including:

  • Academics
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Town life
  • Social scene

It also lists schools by "type." Among these are "Party Schools" and "Stone-Cold Sober Schools." Many of the latter have a religious affiliation.

Neither of those monikers is given solely based on how much alcohol is consumed. The colleges and universities that made the "Party Schools" list did so based on answers to questions about the number of hours students studied each day outside of class, the popularity of fraternities and sororities and the frequency of usage of drugs and alcohol on campus.

One of the advantages of attending large colleges or universities is that they tend to have diverse student bodies. Therefore, young people can likely find others who share their values and interests.

Of course, college is also a time of meeting new types of people and trying new things -- not all of them good. Therefore, even if your child has never used or abused alcohol or drugs, it's wise to talk to them about the dangers -- including getting behind the wheel while under the influence. A DUI arrest and conviction can impact a college student's life and have ramifications for years in the future.

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